Several outreach programmes have been designed to provide AT training directly to students in school. Post primary DEIS schools in the region are the primary target however outreach initiatives have extended to non-DEIS schools also. All programmes are developed in collaboration with schools and adapted to meet the needs of the school and students. The format of delivery is also flexible again depending on learners’ needs, timetabling etc. In all outreach programmes the value of progressing to higher education, admission routes and post entry supports is communicatedto participants.
Aligning with UDL principles, some schools adopt a whole-of-class approach to introduce all students to assistive technology. If required, this can be followed up with more targeted training for students with particularlearning needs.
In other schools, the training specifically targets students with disabilities to provide tailored training relevant to their learning needs and challenges and to maximise their learning opportunity and time to engage with the technology.
The engagement of teaching staff, SEN Coordinators and Special Needs Assistants in the programme is pivotal in supporting students to engage with and use the technology. Therefore, staff AT training is usually incorporated into school outreach initiatives and staff are encouraged to avail of the Train-the-Trainer AT training sessions delivered through Teacher Education Centres.
Case Study 1: Disability Awareness and Assistive Technology TY Programme
SETU Carlow& Knockbeg College
Staff from the ASD unit and the mainstream school completed Enabling Transitions Assistive Technology training in early 2023. Following this initial engagement, the school requested training for Transition Year students and in responseSETU developed the Disability Awareness and Assistive Technology Programme. Disability Awareness was included in the training so all students had an understanding of other student’s needs. The programme consisted of three-one hour sessions and was delivered during school time with teachers in attendance to support student learning and use of the technology.
- Group discussion on understanding and awareness of disability.
- Identifying resources and supports to assist students with disabilities.
- Practical demonstrations of various assistive technology.
- Students had the opportunity to use the technology on computers in the classroom.
Case Study 2: ‘Build Your Digital Toolkit’
MTU Kerry Campus & Killarney Community College
This programme is delivered on campus to students in Transition Year. Students are first introduced to a range of free apps, software and browser extensions which they can use immediately and independently. Then they explore how to use them effectively to support their learning and study. Students have the opportunity to practice using the technology in the computer lab to identify what works best for them so they can build their own digital toolkit.Students are then treated to lunch and a campus tour. Teachers attend the programme to support learning and encourage students to use the tools after in the classroom
- Word processor inbuilt features (MS Word)
- Proofreading and writing assistant app (Grammarly)
- Transcription software (Otter.ai)
- Text to speech software/app/browser extension (Natural Reader)
- Line focus browser extension (Visor)
- Mindmapping software (Mindmeister)
- Digital flashcards (Anki)
- Generative AI (Chat GPT)
AT Outreach has extended beyond the classroom and into the community, so teachers parents and students can access information and training locally. Collaboration with South Kerry Development Partnership and enabled the delivery of AT training workshops across Co. Kerry in Family Resource Centres in Duagh, Kenmare, Cahersiveen, Listowel and Killorglin.
For further information on Assistive Technology, outreach initiatives please contact:
|MTU Kerry Campus
Study Guidance and Transitions Facilitator
Enabling Transitions Coordinator
Enabling Transitions Project Co-Ordinator
Assistive Technology Outreach Coordinator